This season for the Philadelphia 76ers has been full of new players coming and going. Since the year began, the Sixers have had 23 different players on their active roster.
In a year full of difficulty, it has pretty much been an open audition for players who have had little or even no experience in the NBA. Unfortunately, many of these players have not proven their worthiness which has reflected on the team’s record.
Even though the team as a whole has been horrible, some of the players are starting to show that they are slowly developing. Hollis Thompson is one player in particular that has improved tremendously as the season has progressed.
Hollis Thompson playing for the Georgetown Hoyas (www.washingtonpost.com)
Thompson attended Georgetown University and played there for three seasons before declaring for the NBA draft in 2012. Like several players on their current roster, Thompson went undrafted.
During his three seasons as a Hoya, he started to make a name for himself as he improved each year. He saw a huge increase in his minutes which allowed him to take more shots and enhanced his overall offensive game.
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For Thompson, his path to the NBA was not an easy one. After going undrafted, it was uncertain as to whether or not he could find a place in the NBA.
He first signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2012, but never played a game with them as he was released before the season even started. From there, he went to the D-League and played there for all of last season.
Prior to the start of this season, the Sixers gave Thompson his first chance in the NBA as they signed him to a small contract.
The Sixers knew what type of player they were getting when they signed Thompson this offseason. Shooting perimeter jumpers is his specialty, but lacks the ability to get to the rim and is not a great ball-handler.
Just like the start of his college career, Thompson got off to a slow start in his first year. Early in the season, Thompson had a very minimal role on the team and appeared that he was going to fall out of the rotation.
Then heading into 2014, it appeared that Thompson was revitalized as he became more of an asset to the team. Once the Sixers parted ways with some of their veteran players, Thompson was able to full some of the open voids and has even been put into the starting lineup.
Before he seemed a little tentative, and may have been nervous about finding a place in the league. Now that the Sixers are near the end of the season, it appears that Thompson is playing with much more poise.
Coach Brett Brown has instilled the confidence in Thompson by continuing to give him opportunities throughout the season. Many times this year Thompson has struggled, but he is not afraid of failure and continues to improve.
His minutes have been going up as he has become a big contributor in the Sixers rotation. Due to the role he has been given, his field goal and three point field goal percentage continue to rise as well.
Most recently, Thompson sparked the Sixers comeback as they nearly pulled off an upset against the Brooklyn Nets. In the loss, Thompson set a career high in points with 18 as he went 6-8 from behind the three point line.
Although Thompson does not have the ability to take over a game, he has shown physical as well as mental toughness. For a player to continuously get better on a team that loses on a regular basis, shows where a player’s heart and mind are at.
After going undrafted, Thompson may very well know that this could be his one and only chance to show his value in the league. It has been up and down to this point, but with his hard work ethic and positive attitude, he definitely deserves more opportunities.
It still remains unclear as to what the Sixers will do with Thompson at the years end. He can be a good shooter off the bench in years to come, but it is debatable as to whether or not the Sixers will go down that road.
One thing for certain is that Brett Brown has been pleased with the effort Thompson has shown in recent months. Thompson’s emergence will definitely be noticed, so the Sixers organization will have a decision to make on his future with the team.
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